The Apparition Review
It's rough when you're a horror film. The upside is that you generally cost very little money and almost always make back your budget. The downside is you need to create a sense of atmosphere, thrills and/or terror if you want any chance of sustaining business for more than three weeks at the box office. In this instance, don't expect The Apparition
to fare well as it provides none of the above — at all.
The film is painfully/laughably simple: a group of college students led by Ben (Sebastian Stan) and Patrick (Tom Felton) attempt to recreate a '70s paranormal experiment by summoning a a specter from the other side by (essentially) using their minds. When they actually succeed, the being attacks the students, before the film flashes forward an undisclosed amount of time to find Ben living with his new girlfriend Kelly (Ashley Greene) in an "investment home" somewhere in the middle of the desert. Hoping to leave what happened behind him, Ben goes about life with Kelly, until strange happenings around their home lead them to the conclusion that they are being hunted by the same being from Ben's wayward experiment.
And that's it. Fairly straightforward when you put pen to paper, but make no mistake. The Apparition
is wildly boring. Clocking in at 82 minutes, it manages to come off as the most bland horror release in recent memory. After it's less-than-compelling opening experiment, the film shifts into what is basically a two-player story of Ben and Kelly — the most basic and uninteresting lead characters this side of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
remake. Really. They're awful. Stan looks like he is just counting down the days until he can return to a Marvel film set and Greene clearly spends a lot of time on her legs at the gym. Neither of them seemed to show up to shoot, mentally speaking.
Which isn't to say the blandness of the film is entirely their fault. The script is wildly cringe-inducing, and not in a violent sense — unless you count butchering of the English language as a violent offense. It isn't even loaded with your standard cliche dialogue, it's just indescribably bad and uninspired. Ben and Kelly are meant to have chemistry, but when their characters are outperformed by a dog (who is in the film for less than five minutes) you've got a problem.
The movie doesn't even attempt the basic "jump scares" of even the most bland horror offerings. It just wanders. It attempts to use the "noise off-screen" approach that made Paranormal Activity
such a success, but it doesn't work. Nothing in this movie scares. Not even its imagery, which in case you were wondering, is completely given away by the film's marketing. Any moment of frightening imagery has been completely given away in the film's trailer, and is arguably scarrier in it's marketing campaign than the film itself. So watch the trailer but don't watch this movie.
Actually, don't watch the trailer. Watch any of the classic horrors. Watch The Haunting, The Hills Have Eyes, The Thing.
Hell, watch Insidious
or American Horror Story
. Go out, buy an Xbox or Playstation and play the Silent Hill
or Dead Space
series. Go to your Aunt Muriel's house. Do anything else but watch this movie. You've a better chance to get creeped out from any of the above than watch The Apparition
. The film is so bad, one would question if even the masters of Mystery Science Theater 3000
would be able to make anything funny out of it. Seeing them attempt to try would be the only reason to revist this sad, sad attempt at a horror film.